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Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Sanchez, Valverde and Freire all included
The Spanish Cycling Federation has named a strong five-man selection for the men’s road race at the London 2012 Olympics. Defending champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is joined in the line-up by two of his companions from his winning effort in Beijing four years ago, Oscar Freire (Katusha) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
With a group finish predicted in London, there is also a place for fast man José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), while Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) completes a solid line-up.
“Taking into account the circumstances, I think I’ve come up with the best team possible,” said Spanish coach José Luis De Santos. “They are five riders who will compete at the Tour and will arrive in London in their best form of the year, and everybody has options as the race develops.
“They have experience in big events like the Olympics and the Worlds, and on a human level, there is a good relationship between all of them, which is crucial in a race like this.”
Samuel Sanchez and Luis Leon Sanchez are also slated to compete in the time trial, even if De Santos recognised that it will be hard to discommode the favourites in London.
“We’re aware that we’re not at a level to compete for the podium, because that’s for specialists such as Martin, Cancellara or Wiggins, but they’re still two riders who will do well,” he said.
Spanish team for men’s road race: Oscar Freire (Katusha), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskai), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank).
Men's mountain bike team: José Antonio Hermida, Carlos Coloma and Sergio Mantecón.
Track team: Leire Olaberría (women's omnium), Eloy Teruel (men's omnium), Pablo Aitor Bernal, Sebastián Mora, David Muntaner, Albert Torres (team pursuit) Juan Peralta and Hodei Mazkiarán (sprint).